When visiting other countries, you may have noticed that cars drive on the right hand side of the road. Why is it that 35% of the world population drive on the left side, but the rest don’t?
The countries that drive on the left side of the road are mostly British colonies. In the past, most everybody would drive on the left side of the road because it was the most sensible option for a feudal and violent society. The majority of people are right handed, so swordsmen preferred to be on the left side in order to keep their fighting arm closer to their opponent. Also, a right handed person can mount a horse easier if done so from the left side, especially when they are wearing a sword. Also, being on the left side of the road meant that greeting people would be easier, since the handshake would be stronger with the dominant hand.
Even in the modern age of cars, some countries still drive on the left side of the road. The cars are set up to have the driver’s seat on the right side for improved visibility. With the drivers seat on the right side of the car, the right eye is in a better position to see oncoming traffic because the right eye tends to be the strongest. Also, the strongest hand, which is the right hand, stays on the wheel while the left hand changes gear. This mode of driving makes it the safest, however, 65 percent of the world still drive on the right hand side.
Why is it that most countries now drive on the right hand side of the road? A standard explanation is that it was all because of Napoleon. Napoleon was left handed, so it was easier for him and more comfortable to be on the right side of the road. Since he had conquered Europe, then he naturally would make people drive how he wanted. However, that is believed to be just a myth. Some credit a revolutionary proclamation, which says that since aristocrats drove on the left hand side of the road, than the revolutionary thing to do would be to drive on the right hand side. Nobody really knows how and why the US switched from left hand driving to right.
Right hand driving is a lot less safer than left hand driving, which is why it is important to always drive with precaution and it doesn’t help much if you’re driving under the influence. Prime Lawyers has put together some fact sheets which details how certain drinks and certain amounts can impair your driving and endanger the life of others and yourself. In countries like Australia, there is no single low number of drinks you can have that makes it safe to drive, drinking and driving is absolutely illegal. If you need more information about DUI you can refer to this drink driving infographic.